PUBLIC POLICY: ACHILLES HEEL OF INDIAN ARBITRATION

Daniel Mathew

Introduction

Over the years there has been an increasing thrust on resolving disputes using alternate dispute resolution mechanisms in particular arbitration. This tremendous leap in its popularity could be attributed to its three defining characteristics – efficiency, cost effectiveness, and finality. For commercial transactions, arbitration became the ADR method of choice, with many nations passing supporting legislations.[i] These legislations dealt with numerous aspects of arbitration such as organizing arbitration, procedures, appointment of arbitrators, recognition and enforcement of arbitral award, to name a few.

The primary policy governing these legislations is to minimize interaction with the state justice dispensation machinery. This hands-off approach at no juncture implies a complete disconnect. In other words law enables a private adjudicatory body to perform a function essentially reserved for the state, and retreats to the background content with ensuring that certain minimum standards are maintained. These minimum standards are categorically enumerated in relevant legislations. Though included to discharge an important function at times their vague understanding creates more obstacles. The attempt of this note is to look at one such standard utilised prolifically in arbitration namely that of public policy.

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